Product Liability in the USA

A company that sells its products in the United States is subject to American product liability laws if it is viewed as the “manufacturer” or is a part of the production chain. If a product is comprised of multiple components, each individual supplier is considered a manufacturer. This product liability is independent of how the product reached the country and by whom it was sold. The financial consequences of a product defect can be severe. Prevention is therefore of the utmost importance.

Many options are available to a company to significantly limit its product liability risks. The focus of preventive efforts in terms of product liability is the “failure to warn”, i.e. that a user was not adequately warned of risks involved in using the product and instructed in its use. Companies are not only obligated to make a “safe” product, but also to guide the operator, installer or user through the installation, use, and maintenance of the product in accordance with U.S. standards.

Almost all operating manuals are too technical and too short for the USA. Operating and service manuals for products, brochures, promotional material and websites should therefore be adapted to the current US standards for product liability. This is achieved by warnings on the product itself and in the documentation. The documentation must be designed such that the dangers are clearly indicated, and simultaneously show how these dangers can be avoided, such as by wearing protective garments.

Attorneys at our firm inspect the English-language documentation and provide page by page commentary in the form of a memo, supplementing this with the necessary danger and warning notices, disclaimers, copyright notices, etc. We offer this service at a fixed price, thus our clients are aware of the exact costs before commissioning our services.